Jo Pithon, Domaine Jo Pithon (2003)

Pithon is something of a legend in Anjou, although in relation to some of the other great names associated with the Coteaux du Layon, he is a relative newcomer. He established his domaine close to St Lambert-sur-Lattay in 1978, building up his vineyard holdings over the next thirty years to 25 hectares across five appellations, including one hectare of Chenin planted in 2000 within La Croix Picot. However, in an attempt to finance his more recent growth, Pithon brought in a partner in 2005 by way of Philippe Fournier, the CEO of Afone, a telecommunications service company based in Angers. In 2007, Fournier employed the services of consultant winemaker Stéphane Derenoncourt, primarily to oversee his latest investment at Château de Chamboureau. However, Derenoncourt’s brief was soon widened to include the wines of Domaine Jo Pithon, which subsequently and understandably led to some friction between the various protagonists and saw Pithon walking out of the domaine in late January 2008, losing, at the same time, the right to his own name.

From 2009, the Domaine Jo Pithon no longer exists since both Château de Chamboureau and Domaine Jo Pithon have been placed under a single umbrella company: the innocuous sounding Domaine FL. 

Pithon has since set up a new négociant- éleveur company with his step-son, Joseph Paillé under the name Pithon-Paillé. In conjunction with Pithons wife Isabelle, and Josephs South African born wife Wendy, they are operating as négociant-eleveurs, cultivating five hectares of their own vineyards around Anjou, plus 0.25 hectares rented in Roche-aux-Moines (they are currently buying fruit from an unnamed vigneron). The first vintage was 2008 and vinified at Château La Fresnaye in the Layon. 

Wine Overview:  
The wines are fermented and aged in barrel before bottling. The 2005 and 2006 vintage of La Croix Picot saw a proportion of new oak and were bottled around July following the vintage.

In addition to Savennières (which represents only a small part of their production), the new venture is also vinifying Anjou Blanc and Rouge, Coteaux du Layon as well as some Chinon and Bourgueil. 

The Wines:  
There is clearly a sign of Pithon’s winemaking style here. They are big, rich and showy; impressive on first taste, but become a little fatiguing after a while. The 2005 and 2006 below are from the era of Domaine Jo Pithon, whilst more recent examples are under the new Pithon-Paille label. 

2006 Savennières  ‘La Croix Picot’  
Pale straw appearance. The oak dominates the nose. This is clearly a more modern style. Faintly high toned and shows some residual sugar on the palate. Quite firm and mineral behind. This is a bit short and gives the impression that the wood has almost dried out the wine. Bitter twist to the finish. This is a bit overdone for my taste. The wine underwent full malolactic fermentation. Drinking now and should hold for a few more years. (02/08)

2005 Savennières ‘La Croix Picot’  
Deep appearance. Yellow/gold. Broad, floral nose. Rich and creamy on the nose with obvious coconut aromas from the oak. Mid-full in entry. Taut, with good minerality. Well focused and builds well with a good phenolic bite to the finish. The oak is better integrated on the palate with a vein of minerality running through the wine. Persistent finish. Youthful, but approachable now. This will evolve further. (04/08)

Domaine Pithon-Paillé
Château La Fresnaye
Saint-Aubin de Ligné.
T: + 33 2 41 78 68 74
P: + 33 6 45 75 60 98 (Jo)
P: + 33 6 42 62 06 70 (Joseph/Wendy) 


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